clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament Preview

With the regular season concluded, the tournament bracket is set for College Basketball’s best conference

The Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament will take place March 8-11 at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, MO

The unquestioned best conference in college basketball heads to Kansas City for what should be one of the most hotly contested conference tournament in the nation. The Big 12 Tournament promises to feature plenty of drama: a no-doubt 1-seed fighting to be the Bracket’s top overall seed; Bubble teams looking to lock in a bid; squads locked into the Tournament hoping to improve seeding; and potential bid-thieves needing a Cinderella run to the Championship to make the Big Dance. The party starts Wednesday night with the Champion to be crowned on Saturday. Get your popcorn ready because it is going to be an elite weekend of basketball.

2023 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament Bracket
Big 12

Note: All odds are provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and are subject to change.

#1 Seed: Kansas Jayhawks 25-6 (13-5)

Odds to win Big 12 Tournament: +300
Odds to make Final 4: +180
Odds to win National Championship: +800
X-Factor: Gradey Dick. Freshman Guard - Yes. Jalen Wilson is the Big 12 Player of the Year and a top candidate for National Player of the Year awards. However, Kansas’ success is not tied to Wilson’s performance: losing games when he’s been incredible (see: 30 points in a home loss to TCU, 38 points in the loss to KSU) and when games in which he’s been average (7 points in a win at TCU, 2 points in a win over Texas). Meanwhile, Dick will be the key for the Jayhawks’ potential run through the Big 12 & NCAA Tournaments. When Dick is elite, the Jayhawks win; averaging 15 points on 46% shooting; when Dick is average, KU loses: averaging 11 points on 36 % shooting.
NCAA Tournament Outlook: A lock for a #1 seed and very likely the current top overall seed in the entire tournament headed into Conference Tournament Week. With an absurd 15 Quadrant 1 wins on the season - six more than fellow projected 1-seeds Alabama & Purdue; 10 more than Houston - the Jayhawks’ resume is unimpeachable. Perhaps a loss in the Big 12 Quarterfinals against either West Virginia or Texas Tech drops Kansas from #1 overall and an opportunity to go to the Kansas City Regional, but Rock Chalk should be a #1 seed regardless.

#2 Seed: Texas Longhorns 23-8 (12-6)

Odds to win Big 12 Tournament: +330
Odds to make Final 4: +450
Odds to win National Championship: +2000
X-Factor: Sir’Jabari Rice, Senior Guard - After five seasons with New Mexico State, Rice showed up in Austin and has been an instant impact on the offensive end, becoming the Longhorns’ highest-usage player while averaging 12.6 points per game. He has been especially key to Texas’ success in conference play, with only 5 games scoring single-digits and shooting 40% on 3FGs.
NCAA Tournament Outlook: Although Saturday’s win over Kansas did not give the ‘Horns a share of the regular season title, it did grant Texas the 2-seed in the Big 12 and a unanimous 2-seed in the Big Dance according to Bracket Matrix. Would lifting the trophy on Saturday propel Texas to the 1-line on Selection Sunday? It’s unlikely and would probably need quick meltdowns from UCLA & Purdue in those conference tournaments.

#3 Seed: Kansas State Wildcats 23-8 (11-7)

Odds to win Big 12 Tournament: +650
Odds to make Final 4: +750
Odds to win National Championship: +3500
Player to Watch: Markquis Nowell, Senior Guard - Mr. New York City was named First Team All Big 12, joined by teammate Keyontae Johnson, after being an Honorable Mention last season. His range is the entire gym and his 74 made 3FG is third in the conference, while also leading the league in free throw percentage. Nowell is also an elite distributor, dominating the conference, averaging 7.7 assists per game, 1.4 ahead of next best, KU’s Dajuan Harris.
NCAA Tournament Outlook: As a near unanimous 3-seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats best chance to move up the bracket would be to swap places with Baylor if the Bears were to lose against ISU on Thursday. The Big 12 bracket has set up a potential matchup with Sunflower State rival Jayhawks in the Championship game in a de-facto home environment in Kansas City. KSU likely won’t get punished with a loss in the opening round against TCU, but teams like UConn and Gonzaga could threaten that lofty seed if the Frogs do open with a win. With Nowell & Johnson, the Wildcats will have the best two players on the court in most games; if they get past TCU the ‘Cats could be in for a long stay in KC.

#4 Seed: Baylor Bears 22-9 (11-7)

Odds to win Big 12 Tournament: +475
Odds to make Final 4: +450
Odds to win National Championship: +1800
X-Factor: 3-point shooting - LJ Cryer, Keyonte George, and Adam Flagler each made the Big 12 All -Conference Team and have each served as the Bears’ X-Factor throughout this season. But what has made Baylor stand apart from the crowd is its elite shooting from long range: taking the most 3FGs in the conference AND making them at the highest percentage (36.8%). When the Bears catch fire, it’s a full five-alarm blaze that can take it deep into the Tournament.
NCAA Tournament Outlook: The 2021 National Champions have reloaded and looking to get back to the Sweet 16 after falling in Round 2 last season as a 1-seed. The Bears are very likely locked into a 2-seed for the 2023 Tournament, regardless of its outcome. but consecutive losses to an Iowa State squad that had been floundering could drop BU to a 3 if other dominoes fall.

#5 Seed: Iowa State Cyclones 18-12 (9-9)

Odds to win Big 12 Tournament: +650
Odds to make Final 4: +1100
Odds to win National Championship: +6000
X-Factor: Free Throw Shooting - Imagine how elite the Cyclones would be if it could make shots from the charity stripe. ISU earned the fewest free throw attempts in the Big 12 AND made the lowest percentage when getting the opportunity, at just 67% for the year. For a team that lives on its Top 10 defense, ISU will likely be in close games in March; if it cannot find success from the line the Cyclones could be caught by surprise.
NCAA Tournament Outlook: Having finally righted the ship by taking down Baylor in the season finale after a horrific February, Iowa State is no longer in any danger of falling towards the Bubble and can now maintain a Top 6 seed and potentially push higher with another win over Baylor and a potential Semifinal match up with Kansas.

#6 Seed: TCU Horned Frogs 20-11 (9-9)

Odds to win Big 12 Tournament: +750
Odds to make Final 4: +700
Odds to win National Championship: +3000
X-Factor: Mike Miles Jr, Junior Guard - There is no denying that the Frogs will go as far as Miles will take them. When Miles went down with a knee injury early against Mississippi State, TCU lost that game and 4 of its next 5. Even as Emanuel Miler leads the league in FG% and Damion Baugh averaging 6 assists per game, the entire squad is much better with Miles on the court, even when he has a bad night, as he did in TCU’s win over Texas.
NCAA Tournament Outlook: The Frogs might be have the most volatile seeding projection in the conference despite being a lock to at least reach the Tournament. After an ugly loss to close the season against last place Oklahoma, a 4-seed is out of reach without at least a run to the Title game, while a loss Thursday could drop the Frogs as far as a 7-seed.

#7 Seed: Oklahoma State Cowboys 17-14 (8-10)

Odds to win Big 12 Tournament: +3000
Odds to make Final 4: +2500
Odds to win National Championship: +18000
X-Factor: Kalib Boone, Senior Forward - The All-Big 12 Third Teamer is a true scoring big man, while his teammate in the paint Moussa Cisse brings the defending prowess. He has the ability to take over a game (see: 25 points in a win over TCU) or become a ghost (see: 3 points in a loss to TCU).
NCAA Tournament Outlook: The Pokes find themselves squarely on the Bubble after dropping five straight games before winning the season finale against Texas Tech that was very likely an elimination game. OSU will open the conference tournament with a must-win Bedlam showdown for the opportunity to take on Texas in the Quarterfinals; the Cowboys may need to win at least those two to be comfortably in the Big Dance.

#8 Seed: West Virginia Mountaineers 18-13 (7-11)

Odds to win Big 12 Tournament: +1500
Odds to make Final 4: +2200
Odds to win National Championship: +9000
X-Factor: Erik Stevenson, Senior Guard - After a long and winding college career that has taken him from Wichita State to Washington to South Carolina and finally to Morgantown, Stevenson is a candidate for a tournament breakout if WVU makes a Cinderella run. The sharpshooting guard has scored at least 23 points and 3 assists in five straight games and makes Bob Huggins’ squad all the more dangerous.
NCAA Tournament Outlook: At just 7-11 in league play, WVU drops down to the 8-seed but is very nearly a lock to go Dancing given its elite resume and metrics, landing it in the Top 25 of NET and Ken Pom. The Mountaineers seem destined to land in the 8/9 game if it takes down TTU on Wednesday, but a loss could drop it all the way down to an 11-seed and potentially headed to Dayton for the play-in game.

#9 Seed: Texas Tech Red Raiders 16-15 (5-13)

Odds to win Big 12 Tournament: +4000
Odds to make Final 4: +3000
Odds to win National Championship: +20000
X-Factor: Pop Isaacs, Freshman Guard - Missing six games with an ankle injury really threw off what was a very promising campaign for the true frosh; Tech went 4-2 in those games but have not been able to fully re-integrate Isaacs back into the offense since. averaging under 10 points in his last four games. Shooting 38% from long range and 89% from the FT line, if Pop pops perhaps the Red Raider Bubble does not pop.
NCAA Tournament Outlook: The at-large outlook for the Red Raiders is bleak, faltering down the stretch by following four straight great wins with three heartbreaking losses by a combined 8 points and a suspension to head coach Mark Adams due to racially insensitive comments and allegedly spitting on a player. TTU has fallen all the way off the Bubble and likely needing to win this tournament as a bid thief to make the NCAA Tournament. However, a run to the Big 12 Championship game would mean wins over WVU, Kansas, and either Baylor or ISU, giving Tech a final record of 19-16 with some monster wins on the resume that could make a side-by-side comparison with other Bubble contenders favorable to TTU.

#10 Seed: Oklahoma Sooners 15-16 (5-13)

Odds to win Big 12 Tournament: +4000
Odds to make Final 4: +3000
Odds to win National Championship: +25000
X-Factor: Jalen Hill, Junior Forward - While Grant Sherfield is the Sooners’ leading scorer, but for OU to make the necessary Cinderella run, it’ll take Hill owning the paint on both ends of the court. Hill showed an elite ceiling against elite competition, with 26 points-8 rebounds against Alabama and 17 points-9 rebounds against Baylor. If he can show that ceiling for four straight games it could the thing to send the Sooners dancing.
NCAA Tournament Outlook: The Sooners will need a Cinderella run to win the Big 12 Tournament in order to earn a bid into the NCAA Tournament

Big 12 Team Sheets

Team NET KenPom NET SOS Quad 1&2 Record
Team NET KenPom NET SOS Quad 1&2 Record
Kansas 7 9 1 20-6
Texas 10 8 7 15-8
Kansas State 17 18 16 13-8
Baylor 12 14 3 15-9
Iowa State 20 22 4 11-12
TCU 28 25 14 12-10
OK State 43 40 8 9-13
West Virginia 24 17 5 11-13
Texas Tech 55 53 15 5-15
Oklahoma 66 51 2 9-16